The University of Florida nixed its entire diversity, equity, and inclusion staff on Friday, thanks to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s wingman in the GOP’s war on education, Ben Sasse.
Sasse, the former Republican senator from Nebraska turned university president, terminated 13 full-time positions and 15 administrative appointments for faculty members, a university spokesperson told Axios.
According to an administrative memo obtained by the the campus’s student paper, The Alligator, DEI staff would be fired effective immediately, with severances tantamount to 12 weeks of pay. Additionally, $5 million would be redirected from DEI programs and placed in a “faculty recruitment fund” to be administered by the university’s Office of the Provost however it deems fit.
“These colleagues are allowed and encouraged to apply, between now and Friday, April 19, for expedited consideration for different positions currently posted within the university,” the memo read.
“Florida is where DEI goes to die …” DeSantis coldly wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, shortly after the decision became public.
The employees are the latest victims of DeSantis’s all-out war on what he describes as “woke culture” on college campuses—which Sasse has been gleefully helping him lead. Last May, the conservative politician signed a bill that effectively defunded diversity programs, prohibiting state schools from spending state or federal funds on DEI initiatives.
“If you look at the way this has actually been implemented across the country, DEI is better viewed as standing for discrimination, exclusion, and indoctrination,” DeSantis said during a press conference at the time. “And that has no place in our public institutions. This bill says the whole experiment with DEI is coming to an end in the state of Florida.”